Architecture and The Public City

Mike Althorpe
Fridays 10.30 - 12.30pm

As we move through the city our experience of architecture is constant and our rich urban environments are multi-layered. They are the outcome of centuries of evolution, shifting need and happenstance, but also concerted and sometimes visionary efforts to rethink the metropolis for the greater good of its citizens and the wider public.

This course is for anyone interested in architecture and cities. With London as its focus, it will explore the modern making and reshaping of the city through distinct streetscapes, building typologies and housing townscapes.

Structured into three key themes, we will look at urban development and change driven by public and municipal bodies in the 19th and 20th centuries from different angles; firstly, at urban improvement and the purposeful making of streets; secondly the evolution of key public building types such as town halls, libraries, fire stations and schools; thirdly, transformative public housing landscapes.

The course is structured chronologically, and the weekly lectures are accompanied by slide presentations. Core themes include:  municipalism, modernity, local government, architectural modernism, urbanism and spatial planning. In each stage of the course the political, economic and social context will be explored alongside the introduction of key architectural and urban figures with illustrative drawings, plans and diagrams bringing buildings and spaces to life. Key case studies among others will include: Regent Street, Victoria Street, the Metropolitan Board of Works, Shaftesbury Avenue, The London County Council, Kingsway & Aldwych, Beacontree, Roehampton and bringing it fully up to date the emerging 21st century Colville and Kings Crescent estate neighbourhoods in Hackney.

The course will include a walk around Finsbury, Covid situation permitting.

14 January - 08 April 2022 (Half term 18 February)
Non-Members: £163 (12 weeks)
Members: £132 (12 weeks)
Concessions: £10 (contact the office for details)